Sunday, August 07, 2005

Get feeds for Usenet news groups

Dwight Silverman blogged Back in the day, Usenet was actually, well, useful. A series of tens of thousands of discussion forums, it was an incredibly active and compelling text-based online community. But with the rise of the easier-to-navigate graphical Web -- along with an onslaught of spam, off-topic posts, flame wars and grotesquely offensive behavior by virtual thugs -- Usenet became an unpleasant, unfriendly and non-useful place to be.

Dwight is certainly correct. Back in the old days (early Jurrasic period) I frequented a number of Usenet News Group, and even went through the Proposal and Voting procedure to create several usenet news groups for User Groups, but they were taken over by the spammers, and I had no ability to delete their messages, and so User Groups never started using them.
Sure, it still can be helpful when you're looking for information on specialized topics. And now that you can get Atom feeds for individual groups, it may have a second life.

Google Groups, which provides a handy way to search Usenet, now offers feeds in the Atom format for any group. To find the feeds, go to any group, such as In the address filed in your browser, add "/feeds" (without the quotes) and hit enter.
For example the UseNet group ok.tulsa.general is at, and if you go to you will see Topic summaries and Message summaries
You'll get a page that will let you select from either topic or message summary feeds. Copy either of those links and add the one you want to your feed reader.

Note that not all feed readers can handle the Atom format, but most will. You can find a list of available readers at the Chronicle's RSS feed page.

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